June 2022

Pop Singer Mariah Carey Sued Over Her Hit Christmas Song

Takeaway: Andy Stone is suing Mariah Carey for copyright infringement over her famous song, “All I Want for Christmas is You,” claiming that his intellectual property rights were willfully infringed.

Andy Stone, also known as Vince Vance, is a Mississippi musician who co-wrote Mariah’s famous hit in 1989 alongside co-writer Walter Afanasieff. Stone is now saying, “Defendants have knowingly, willfully, and intentionally engaged in a campaign to infringe plaintiff’s copyright in the work ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ and to commit acts of unjust enrichment by the unauthorized appropriation of plaintiff’s work and the goodwill associated therewith, all of which are proprietary to plaintiff … to the commercial gain, personal profit and unjust enrichment of the defendants and the irreparable injury and financial loss of plaintiff.”

Stone claims that he never gave Carey or Columbia Records consent to use his copyright, nor does he claim to have given a license. Stone’s lawsuit is claiming copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, misappropriation, and violation of the Lanham Act. Stone is being represented by Douglas M. Schmidt and Andrew C. Abrams and is seeking “an amount not less than” $20 million for each of the three claims.

Photo Credit: bbc .com/news/world-us-canada-61688826


Paramount Pictures Sued Over Its Newly Released Movie “Top Gun”

Takeaway: Family members of Ehud Yonay, the writer who wrote the story on which the movie “Top Gun” was based, has filed a copyright lawsuit over its newly released sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Shosh Yonay, the writer’s widow, and Yuval Yonay, the writer’s son, filed a complaint in California federal court against Paramount Pictures, claiming the studio was infringing federal copyright law.

The complaint alleges, “This case arises out of Paramount’s conscious failure to re-acquire the requisite film and ancillary rights to the Yonays’ copyrighted story prior to the completion and release of their derivative 2022 sequel.” The suit said, however, that “Paramount deliberately ignored” the reversion of the copyright to the plaintiffs. Further, the complaint stated, “Paramount consciously failed to secure a new license of film and ancillary rights in the copyrighted story following the Yonays’ recovery of their U.S. copyright.” We will see how this suit plays out.


Tens of Thousands of Trademark Applicant Emails Exposed in a Breach

Takeaway: After a misstep by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, tens of thousands of applicants became vulnerable to scammers, but the USPTO says it is diligently working on ensuring that this issue would not occur again.

The USPTO said it was “recently made aware” of an incident occurring on May 24 in which courtesy notices were sent to approximately 21,000 email addresses of applicants whose trademarks had received registration.

The notices were posted on the office’s Trademarks Status & Document Retrieval System, or TSDR, and included applicant email addresses. The USPTO said, “We have taken immediate action to retract the courtesy notices and are replacing them with ones that no longer contain this information. We take great pride in our ability to provide our brand community with the high-quality service it deserves and have taken steps to prevent the issue from occurring again.”

The Overwhelming Majority of PTAB Decisions Are Upheld

Takeaway: Approximately three-fourths of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions are upheld by the Federal Circuit.

According to data compiled by Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner attorneys, the Federal Circuit has reviewed more than 1,000 appeals from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and affirmed the board 72.6% of the time. This is only a slight decrease from a few years ago, at approximately 80%.

The majority of the appeals came from decisions that PTAB judges reached on petitions for inter partes review.


Judge Refuses Appeal in Patent Case Against Domino’s Pizza

Takeaway: A California federal judge has rejected a patent-holding company’s bid for additional time to appeal Domino’s $2.7 million dollar attorney fees award.

Judge Sabraw found that Ameranth Inc. unreasonably missed the filing deadline.

According to the court, the company simply waited too long to challenge the decision forcing it to pay Domino’s seven-figure legal bill, which kept piling on while Dominos fought claims that it infringed four of Ameranth’s patents. The patents are related to an online menu system. Judge Sabraw said, “While the court declines to find that Ameranth intentionally disregarded its time to appeal the fee order in this case, the evidence does support Domino’s argument that Ameranth knew the fee order was appealable ‘promptly’ after its entry and without a separate judgment but then did nothing to pursue that appeal.”


Why Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Should Be On Everybody’s Mind

Takeaway: States are slowly adopting their own privacy laws while states like California are already amending their existing ones.

It is becoming increasingly clear that states are following suit after California passed its very own privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect a couple years ago on January 1, 2020. For example, most recently, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed the Connecticut Data Privacy Act (CTDPA), making Connecticut the fifth state to adopt a comprehensive state-wide privacy law. While Connecticut is passing its very first privacy legislation, California has already passed an amendment to correct and add to the CCPA. In California, everybody should be paying attention to the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which will soon go into effect on January 1, 2023. As previously noted, it essentially amends the CCPA and also, most notably, adds a new enforcement agency, the California Privacy Protection Agency that will be responsible for upholding the new law and overseeing its enforcement along with levying penalties.

If your business has not yet begun to prepare for the CPRA or you are confused on whether your business falls within one of its several categories, contact us to make an appointment to discuss with an attorney. You can call us at (310) 979-9190 or email privacy@cislo.com if you have any questions or would like a consultation.


Cislo & Thomas LLP Spotlight

Attorney Katherine Sales Featured on the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Webinar

On June 20th, Attorney Katherine Sales represented Cislo & Thomas in a webinar of the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s (BHBA) Startup Law Initiative series called “Protecting Intellectual Property.”

Katherine Sales shared her experience, saying that “the BHBA put on a wonderful presentation about IP for entrepreneurs, and I was honored to be the moderator for our group. We had excellent interaction from the audience and were able to cover all of the major IP topics that start-ups are typically concerned with. So thankful to have been able to connect with my colleagues at Knobbe Martens to work on this project.”